Zimra issues amnesty on all taxes

HARARE - A tax amnesty provision has been made by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on penalties, interest and prosecution for the non-payment and irregularities of all taxes administered by the tax collecting body.

In a statement issued yesterday, Zimra said the amnesty was in respect to any non-compliance which occurred during the period beginning February 1, 2009 to September 30, 2014.

Under the provisions issued through the commissioner general’s public notice 16 of 2014, clients have to apply for the tax amnesty.

“Applications for the tax amnesty should be submitted well in time to enable the processing by the commissioner general and time for the applicant to pay the full amount no later than March 31, 2015,” the tax body said.

The grace period was enabled by the Finance Act (No2) of 2014 published on October 17, 2014.

This comes as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa recently declared the tax authority was going to continue issuing garnishee orders to companies that evade tax.

He told Parliament early this quarter that “Zimra’s mandate is tax collection and the revenue collector will do all it can to fulfill this mandate”.

Zimbabwe is hard pressed after failing to secure budgetary support, and is footing its wage bill and recurrent expenditure from tax collections.

“What we should say is not to discourage Zimra from collecting taxes, but to encourage them and also to give advice that when doing so, while being firm, they should be friendly,” said Chinamasa.

Early this year, the Gershem Pasi-led Zimra descended on companies defaulting on their tax obligations, imposing garnishee orders on their bank accounts.

Of these defaulting companies, over 10 have dragged the tax collector to the Fiscal Court of Appeal over the orders.

Despite some companies voluntarily disclosing their arrears to the tax collector and proposing payment plans, they were not spared the garnishee orders.

Other companies approached the High Court and the Constitutional Court after the filing of their appeals at the Fiscal Court of Appeal failed to bar Zimra from garnishing their accounts.

Recently, Pasi said garnishee orders were only used as a “last resort” for “truant and noncompliant clients”, and was not the modus operandi of Zimra in collecting revenue.

He also said Zimra will soon launch a scheme to issue garnishee orders to state enterprises.

In the meantime, Zimra missed revenue target by one percent in the half year to June 2014 after collecting $1,72 billion, lower than an expected $1,74 billion.

The tax collector said the target was missed due to company closures, retrenchments and the prevailing liquidity crisis.

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